“I don’t want to go. I’m tired, I’ve been dealing with my mom all week, & I won’t know anyone but you & your man! Please don’t beg me to go!” These words came rushing out of my mouth with my shortened breath as I tried to catch it while giving excuses. Phone balanced precariously on my shoulder, I was struggling to unlock the doors to my mother’s house, while talking to my childhood best friend, Tonya.
I was coming back from my youngest sister’s high school soccer practice, where the coach had asked me to assist start assisting, because no one else had volunteered who actually had any experience playing. For the past week, I had been stuck playing surrogate mom & nurse-maid to the household, because my mother had broken her ankle while running drunk down a hill trying to catch my stepfather in the act with his mistress. He never came back home after that night & my mom was in no shape to care for her three wild & overbearing teenage girls. My (half)-sister’s.
“Please, you have to go. It’s going to be all of Bruce’s friends & I’m going to have no one to talk to all night. You’ve never come out to the bar with me before, you know. Please, please, puh-leeease!,” Tonya begged from the other line of the phone. She was throwing her fianceè, Bruce, a birthday bash at the bar that night. She was right, I had never gone out with her like this before, though we were 23 & more than legal, because I had gotten pregnant within weeks of turning 21, then had a second baby within a year of the first. She knew she had me just about to bite her hook, so pushed farther, knowing exactly how to reel me in. “You know, Bruce invited this friend of his, who’s smoking hot. And single. I’m supposed to hook him up with my cousin Brandy, but she might not even come. And I heard from Bruce that he even writes POETRY! He’s got hard muscles & a preppy boy meets surfer-skater boy look, too. Just your type!”
“I have a type? I don’t think my ex’s fit into a type, they’re all across the board,” I replied, cutting her off before she realized I had swallowed that bait whole, hook, line, sinker, & all. “Besides, I’m not all about hooking up with anyone right now, you know that. I’ve got enough on my plate with getting full custody of the boys. And getting a real job. And a house. A reliable car. You know, grown-up problems! But… I owe you. And I love you. See you later, gator.” Because, that’s just the kind of friend I am, I jump through a gazillion circus hoops on my end, just so my friends can have some happiness from getting their way. Besides, I reasoned with myself, Tonya had a good point about never having been in a bar, legally, since I became legal. I had also just lost a bit of the extra baby weight I struggled with losing after those back-to-back pregnancies. I was feeling pretty smoking hot myself. What the hell!
Into the shower I went, making sure to take my time shaving, because it was still warm enough in early September not to need pantyhose if I didn’t want to. I didn’t want to. This wasn’t a job interview or church for Christ’s sake, it was a night out on the town! Sexy, not classy, was the look I wanted. After my shower, I raided my sister’s bedrooms. Maybe I wasn’t nearly skinny enough to fit into their teeny-bopper clothes with my post-babies body, but I could still use all of their makeup, hair accessories, jewelry, & styling tools. That’s what good sister’s do. I curled my hair into loose spirals, made my face up perfectly since these spoiled lol brats actually had designer makeup that I couldn’t even imagine being able to afford, & even gave my nails a quick coat of pale pink polish. The finished product of myself all done up & dressed to the T in a black & white miniskirt & pink halter top was looking hot. Looking back, I don’t think I can recall a time that I ever felt as good about appearance, or about myself for that matter, as I did that night.
I show up at this little hole-in-wall country karaoke bar, wondering why in the hell Tonya would’ve chosen this place for her gangsta wannabe boyfriend’s birthday party. Taking a deep breath to calm my nerves, I walk in & blink a few times to let my eyes adjust, coming into focus on a room to my right where a bunch of 60-somethings were line dancing while taking turns with the mic & ordering rounds. Tonya’s deep, boisterous belly-laughter broke my frightened trance followed up with the sharp, hoarse, chuckles of Bruce & a few other males I didn’t recognize. The noise came somewhere from the left of the entrance, so I followed my ears through the smoky dimness until I saw another room. Everyone was crowded around a table near the tv where the Detroit Tiger’s baseball game was on, chattering away about the same nonsense small talk people make when they first congregate & haven’t warmed up to their surroundings.
With the curse of imperfect timing, I walked in just as the group had finished the first round of shots. I scanned the table of faces hoping I would know someone besides Tonya, because I knew that a few drinks in her, she’d become glued to her man like a spitball on a middle school bathroom ceiling. Even if Brandy was a little too uptown for my liking, I would’ve been thankful to have a familiar face to chat the night away with once I was ditched, but she wasn’t there. In fact, as my eyes came in to focus better, all seven people sitting around the table with Tonya & Bruce, were guys & my eyes immediately landed on the Mr. Hottie that Tonya had been telling me about. As coyly as I could muster with my rusty sex-kitten skills, I plopped down next to Tonya in a chair kiddy-corner across from him, announcing my presence with a kiss to her cheek. Bruce immediately asks where’s his kiss & ends up with a punch to his shoulder. From both of us women. The guy in the other side of me starts to introduce himself as the barmaid shows up with a round of mixed drinks.
As the conversation around the table carried on, I alternated between contributing with flirtatious, double-edged comments & sitting back in people-watching-mode to take in everything around me. And check out Mr. Hottie. He was kind of quiet, more wrapped up in watching the baseball game. By the time our drinks were about finished, someone had ordered a second round of shots & that’s when I noticed something that really drew my attention to Mr. Hottie in a whole new light- he was drinking water with a lemon & lime garnish, not a gin & tonic or straight vodka or whatever other clear liquor is served on ice. By nature, people are generally pretty easy for me to read, especially guys, whom I’ve always played to my advantage once they’ve surpassed the friend zone. It became my mission to get closer to this guy & read him. Figure out why he isn’t drinking, because I couldn’t gather any info on him from a distance, as I usually can with most others. If curiosity killed the cat, then I was one dead sex-kitten, because I just had to know. This guy was as mysterious as I’ve ever met & I could definitely sense that he had some deep secrets he was guarding under lock & key.
Before I could formulate a way to catch this guy’s eye & strike up a conversation that led down a tangent away from the others, forcing me to have to move closer to hear each other, the guy next to me taps my shoulder. I turn towards him to see he had gone to order me another mixed drink & had a dopey grin on his face like that of a twelve year old boy who accidentally saw his babysitters hard nipples poking through her bathingsuit. Oh boy. Awkward newbie lovestruck geek alerts were ringing loud in my head. Time to send the friend zone warning signal out, as gentle, & quietly on the down low, as possible, because with my cursed luck, Mr. Hottie would overhear & my chance to catch his eye would be gone. Not that it mattered in the grand scheme of things, because someone with looks like his wouldn’t stick around after tonight once finding out that my life was a beautiful disaster at the moment, I was the mother of two baby boys, & didn’t look this flipping sexy in the average day. It just couldn’t hurt my confidence, my sex appeal, or my ego to try. Well, it could, but it was worth the risk.
By some fated course of the heavenly stars above, just as I was mentioning my sons for the billionth time, in between pounding that o.j. & vodka, hoping this totally dorked-out dopey looking fool would get the point, Tonya & Bruce announced we were switching bars. My real relief came when dopey’s ride made mention that they’d have to call it a night because they both had to work the next morning & wouldn’t be following. Everyone started heading out the door for their cars, but I hung back to ask exactly where this other bar was that everyone else, but out-of-touch me, knew all about. That’s when I noticed him out of the corner of my eye. Mr. Hottie was still sitting at the table, alone by this point, completely absorbed in the top of the eighth inning of the baseball game. Tonya was still wrapped up discussing something or another with the bartender who also www a family friend, so I took my chance with the help of liquid courage, & sat down next to him.
“Hi there. I don’t think we were ever properly introduced.”, I said as sweetly as I could without sounding tipsy. Because, I was certainly feeling a little tipsy.
“No, we weren’t, I didn’t think your boyfriend would’ve liked that.”, he replied with a voice as dreamy as his deep chestnut eyes.
I giggled like a drunken sorority girl who just heard herself say penis, douche, anus, you get the drift, & couldn’t contain herself. “That’s NOT my boyfriend! Why would you think that?! Oh, hell to the N. O., no! Just a lost puppy trying to climb up in this mama’s lap for a snuggle & a suckle. Not gonna happen. Ever. Soooo, tell me why you’re still sitting here? Everyone’s just about left now.” Dear Lord, I silently prayed, I hope I sound inquisitively cute & not psychologically disturbed.
Never averting his eyes from the tv screen he replied, “I’m about to finish watching this game & head home. I’ll probably have to work in the morning.”
“But you haven’t even had a drink yet. You should come have just one drink & keep me company. I’ve already been abandoned as you see over there.”, where I nod to the two lovebirds hanging all over each other.
He finally looks away from the game with a serious look on his face. “I don’t drink. Alcohol, that is. Not a sip. Besides, I’m watching the end of this game. We’re all tied up & need this win to help secure a playoff spot.”
“So you’re saying the only chance they’ll have at winning this is if you continue to watch the game?”, I said with flirty sarcasm. “C’mon, get up & come with me! The game will end either way & you can check the score when we get to the next place. Please?!”
“When you say it like that, I guess I’m forced to consider your demand, but really, I don’t know why. You don’t even know me.”
The alcohol must’ve really been going to by head because I leaned in super close near his ear & attempted my best effort at a sultry whisper, “I don’t need to know you. I like what I see. And, besides, I always get what I want.”
He looked me dead in the eyes & said, “Ohhh, do you now? What makes you think I’m going to give you what you want? I don’t know if it’ll even be worth my time. Will it?”
“It will be so worth your time to give me what I want.”
“Well then, who am I to break this record of yours? Let’s go… After you.”, he said as he gestured towards the door.
I couldn’t believe it! My heart was racing & I could literally fell the endorphins & epinephrine start flowing at full blast, making me as giddy as an 11yo girl about to see her boy band crush live in concert for the very first time. My mind kept wandering back over the whole scene as I drove the mile to our new destination, trying to figure out exactly how I managed to pull that one off so smoothly. That normally short two-mile drive was taking an eternity & it took all of my composure to maintain the speed limit & obey traffic laws. Being a natural wallflower with a average looks, I had only attracted guys of the pathetic virgin puppy derps type thus far & I was fed up with teaching the innocent how to cross over to the darkside. My sex life was a really bad groundhog day repeating the experience of my first time over & over again, changing partners a handful of times, & without any further awkward discomfort to myself. You just knew that manly-built, not-my-age-like-puppies-were, Mr. Hottie had as much experience hidden beneath his charming smile as he did skeletons in his closet.
When I pulled in to my parking spot at the bar, Mr. Hottie was getting out of his car & he came right to my door, opening it for me before I could get my hand to the door handle. Score some brownie points to him for that stealthy show of class. Maybe there was something to the whole guys don’t mature until after 25 I learned about in my anatomy & physiology class. When we managed to find the ok g Chanrowd of people we belonged to, I immediately sighted something that made my heart drop right into the pit of my stomach & pitter patter for a minute. Brandy. The uptown, fashionista cousin that was the original intended hookup for Mr. Hottie, & from my stereotypical insecure female perspective, above comparison to me. The tables were just what you’d expect in a bar & the group had already pushed a bunch together. Brandy & Tonya were chattering away, standing off towards one side. I waited for Mr. Hottie to sit first, close to his buddy, Bruce & joined in on the conversation down there. I could have tried to sit next to him, but I didn’t want to invade his personal space & look like a complete drunk whore who attached herself to the guy she barely said more than “Hi, follow me,” to under a lonely, newly single, liquid courage whim. I sat across from him, which I realized, I could tell where his eyes wandered around to.
For the next hour everything was a blur- of doing shots, laughing at Tonya’s drunken antics & Bruce’s jokes, talking incessantly with Mr. Hottie in between it all & staring at him staring at me all the while playing footsies under the table. What I recall the most, is that his eyes never wandered. Not once. I was full of alcohol aided passion & probably would’ve let him run off with me to God only knows where at his first inclination of doing so. The whole time, Mr. Hottie kept true of his earlier declaration, & never drank anything but water & a red bull as the night wore on. This self-control he was able to maintain in a socialism pressure cooker turned to HIGH, was extremely HOT to me, sending my boiling blood coursing through me to all the right places. I wanted him bad.
At one point, I led him over past the dance floor to some isolated booths in the darkest corner of the bar looking for some privacy because I was getting really close to being wasted & the whore in me was coming out. I wanted a taste of this guy badly, thought he’d enjoy a preview of what’s to come if he took me home. We squeezed into the bench of one of those empty booths & I scooted myself as close as I could without climbing into his lap. When I leaned in to kiss him, he managed to stop me without making it obvious. Pulling back a little, he distracted me with inquiring questions that made me momentarily forget what I had just tried to do. We went back & forth like that for awhile, because I’m stubborn & just wouldn’t give up trying to satisfy my drunken horniness.
By the time Mr. Hottie got me back to the group, most everyone was getting up to leave. Including Brandy. To this day, I wonder how he never noticed her & left me hanging to pursue that classy looking wench. Tonya & Bruce came up to us & asked if we wanted to head back to the old abandoned school house that Bruce was employed by his family to watch over. There were a few rooms cleaned up & furnished like an apartment that we could crash at since it was kind of closer than where I had to go & Bruce was way too drunk to drive at all. Ryan agreed to drive him over there but said he probably wouldn’t stay. I said I’d follow behind with Tonya.
Once everyone got to the school house, I purposely pulled in right behind Mr. Hottie’s car so he couldn’t go anywhere. I walked up to him, linked my arm in his, & pulled him after the lovers before he could protest. Bruce decided we needed a tour of the place, taking us up & down stairs, in & out of rooms until I was absolutely dizzy & confused & disoriented. I tried to stay close to Mr. Hottie, walking into the back of him, brushing my hand against his as often as I could through the dilapidated passages , trying to get him to grab it. Just as we got to the south wing on the floor that the apartment was at, Mr. Hottie stopped me in the doorway of the entrance, pulled me gently against him, as if I was as delicate as butterfly wings, & brushed his lips against mine so tenderly with a kiss of pure passion. The cliche fireworks I never before had believed in, came cascading over by body the instant our skin collided. Just as quick as he swept me off my feet, he brought me back down to earth, pulling away, taking my hand, & leading me into the living room. You could hear the door slam on the bedroom our companions had rushed off to, leaving us completely alone.
I collapsed onto the couch, pulling him down next to me. I tried to kiss him again, but got the same pull back as he did in the bar. So I smoked a cigarette & kept on chatting away with Mr. Hottie, as we had already It was so easy to do with him, too, like we had always known each other. I don’t think there wasn’t a single thing we didn’t talk about that night. Curled up on that couch together, for hours we laid there sharing our life-stories, souls forging a bond that would prove to stand the test of time. Eventually, as I sobered up & got my brains back, we got around to talking about why he wouldn’t let me kiss him all night or take me to bed, since I was willfully throwing myself at him after all. Mr. Hottie looked me right in the eyes & answered, “What kind of guy would I be if I took advantage of you when I was sober & you were drunk? There’s something about you, something that makes me think there’s more to you that makes you so special & I didn’t want to ruin that. I can see in your eyes that you’ve been through a lot, you deserve more than a guy taking you for granted.”
And with that, I was in love. This night that I balked about going out on, turned out, unexpectedly to be the first day of the rest of my life in the fairy tale relationship I had wishes upon many a first star’s light after my bedtime prayers as a girl. As the sun came up, Mr. Hottie & I exchanged numbers, with a date for dinner that very night once he got off work. As I do, I had major anxieties throughout that next day, thinking maybe it had all been just a joke on me & he’d ran for dear life. I even called Tonya to confirm with Bruce that the number he had given me was correct. Sure enough, my phone rang at 6pm, asking me for my address & letting me know he’d be there within an hour to ride me off, happily ever after.
Next month, we’ll celebrate our ninth wedding anniversary. Mr. Hottie is the hubs, my real life Prince Charming.